Snow clad majestic mountains, dark forests, rich flora, and fauna, calmly flowing rivers, deep valleys and lots more, that’s Har ki Dun for you. Considered as one of the most stunning valleys in the Western Himalayas, it is situated in the middle of a cradle-shaped vale right below the Har ki Dun peak. Offering such beautiful locations, Har ki dun trek is an absolute delight for the trekkers.
It is for this reason that people from all over the world travel to Uttarakhand each year for this trek. The great thing about this trek is the fact that you can go trekking here both in summers and winters.
Table of Content:
- Things You Need To Know About the Har ki Dun Trail
- What is Har Ki Dun Famous For
- Mythology of Har Ki Dun -Valley Of Gods
- Best Season to Visit
- How to Reach
- Detailed Itinerary
- Wildlife in Har ki Dun
- Nearby Tourist Places from Har ki Dun
- Activites in Har ki Dun Valley
- Cost Terms
- Backpacking List for Trek
- Fitness Required for the Har Ki Dun Trek
- Summing Up
If some peace and quiet away from the city noise is what you’re looking for, then the Har ki Dun trek is your calling. Safely tucked away in the serenity of Uttarakhand, Har ki Dun offers a dose of nature to every weary soul. But, before you get lured in with the amazing pictures on the internet, there are a few things you should know about this trek.
Things You Need To Know About the Har ki Dun Trail
- Where it is Located: Uttarakhand
- Trekking Grade: Moderate
- Maximum Altitude: 3500 m
- Total Trekking Distance: Approximately 67 kilometers
- Trail Type: It is a round trail and would begin and end at Sankri
- Base Camp: Sankri which is about 11 hours drive from Dehradun
- Rail Head: The nearest railway station to Sankri is Dehradun
- Best Season: The best time to go for the Har Ki Dun Trek would be between April to June and August to September
What is Har Ki Dun Famous For
Har ki Dun is perhaps one of the most gorgeous places that you would ever visit. No other trek has ever been called the Valley of Gods except for Har ki Dun. The place is famous for its mesmerizing beauty, spectacular valley views, alpine meadows, glacier basins, moraine ridges, pine forests and the ancient villages. It is through this trek that you get to chance to interact with the locals in those mountainous areas and experience their slow-paced local lifestyle.
Mythological Significance of Har Ki Dun: The Valley Of Gods
In the valley of the majestic Swargarohini Peak lies the Har ki Doon. No other Trek has such great mythological tales associated with it as this one. It is believed that Mahabharata’s Yudhisthir ascended to heaven via Swargarohini with the dog. This is the same mountain that dominates the valley of Har ki Dun. When you visit this place, you would notice that the people of this area have a great influence of Mahabharata’s characters.
The ancestors of these areas well as the surrounding areas were believed to be under the Pandavas and Kauravas (the mythological kings and warriors of Mahabharata) reign. The people of the Mori area are the followers of Kaurava and are regarded as anti-heroes in Mahabharata.
Best Season to Visit
When you are trekking in high altitude areas, weather is an essential factor. If you are someone who loves snow, winters would undoubtedly be the best time to go on the Har ki Dun Trek. During the winter season, serenity and solitude are at its best. But, you need to be prepared completely as the area experience heavy snowfall in winters.
During summers, this place has a pleasing temperature. There is comparatively less fog and the sky remains clear. Lightweight woollens would be perfect as temperature remains low only during the night. However, if you are someone who loves scenic beauty and are willing to take a risk, you can visit during the monsoon season. But, it is recommended not to as landslides occur frequently. You can visit right after the monsoon when the colourful flowers cover the entire valley. The beauty is honestly breathtaking during this time of the year.
Har Ki Dun During October
This is perhaps the best time to go for Har Ki Dun Trek. The entire trail seems to adopt a completely different form during the months of October and November. Lush green landscape, cows and horses grazing in the meadows, sprawling river banks and many such things seem to be like the perfect scenery which we used to draw during our childhood days.
Har Ki Dun During April
During April, most people would recommend you to carry an umbrella and a raincoat as there are high chances of rainfall. However, at this time you would be able to spot beautiful flowers that would take your breath away.
Recalling his experience in his blog, Ajay Goyal says, “The bright red colour of the plants just make your eyes shine.”
Winter Temperatures and Summer Temperatures in Har Ki Dun
During the day time in summers, the weather remains warm and nice, with the temperature ranging between 16 to 25 degree Celsius. During the night, the temperature can be anywhere around 6 to 14 degree Celsius.
During the winter season, both day and nights are cold. The day time temperature in winter is around 12 to 15 degree Celsius while the temperature at night at Sankri, Har ki Dun and Seema can drop to as low as -2 to -10 degree Celsius.
How to Reach Har ki Dun
Har ki Dun Trek’s base camp is a small village about 12 km from Sankri called Taluka and is the base for most all of the treks in Uttarakhand. People usually prefer to hire a jeep to cover the 12 km distance, but, if you feel up to it, you can choose to trek to Taluka. Between Dehradun and Sankri, there are several shared jeeps, rental cars and public buses that offer transportation services on a regular basis. There are several means that you can choose from according to your convenience.
Dehradun’s largest serving airport is the Jolly Grant Airport that is situated about 25 kilometres away from the city. From Delhi, there are daily flights to Dehradun. More than often, it is advisable to reach a day earlier in case you come by flight.
If you choose to come by train, you can take the overnight train from Delhi to Dehradun. There are two trains that you can choose from: Dehradun Express Train no: 12687 (Departure at 9:10 pm and Arrival at 5:00 am) and Nandadevi Express - Train no: 12205 (Departure at 11:50 pm and Arrival at 5:40 am).
If you choose to come by bus, it would normally drop you off at the Dehradun ISBT. From the bus stop, you can either rent a car to reach Sankri or come to the railway station of Dehradun and from there hire a car to reach Sankri.
Road Route from Delhi
Now, if you have your own car or have hired one, you can reach Sankri via road from Delhi. For this, follow the below-listed directions.
Delhi-Meerut- Roorkee- Dehradun. Once you reach Dehradun, head to Mussoorie- Nuagoan- Mori- Sankri. Once you make it to Sankri, this is where your trek would begin so as to reach Har ki Doon.
Har ki Dun Trek: Detailed Itinerary You'll Need
Now, there are several routes that you can take. It would be dependent entirely upon the agency that you choose as to which route they choose. Also, the number of days that you choose to trek would be dependent on the number of places that you choose to visit on your way up. Here, we would look at a detailed itinerary that would take you through several beautiful areas.
Reach Dehradun and Drive to Sankri
First, you would need to reach Dehradun. You could choose to come here by air or by train or bus. From Dehradun, you would need to reach Sankri by hiring a jeep or a car. It would take you approximately 10 hours to reach Sankri which is located at an altitude of 6, 397 ft. On your drive, the path would take you through the forests of beautiful conifers. At one point on your way, you would enter Supin’s rocky basin. For your breakfast and lunch, you can stop at the roadside inns. Upon reaching Sankri, you would notice that it is a picturesque pine topped village nestled in the depths of Uttarkashi.
Most of the trek essentials can be bought or rented here at Sankri tight from the trekking jackets to boots and walking sticks. However, the availability of the equipment cannot be guaranteed. You can stay here for the night.
Sankri to Taluka to Pauni Garaat
The drive from Sankri to Taluka would lead to thick pine forested terrain and through Nainbagh, Naugaon, Purola, Jarmola, Mori Naitwar.
If you take a left turn from Naitwar, you would reach Dhaula which is the base camp for Rupin pass trek. Upon reaching Taluka, you can rest for some time, have some tea and get ready for your trek. The entire trail, you would notice has smooth ascents and descents. This is also where you would be seeing the river again. If you choose to trek during the summer, you might not be able to see snow but Rhododendron, orchids and lush vegetation would greet you.
With the river flowing on your right, you would first cross a cemented bridge and then a log bridge. Once you cross over the stream at the cemented bridge and have walked for a good 10-15 minutes, you would be able to find a spot from where you can easily climb down to River Supin’s tributary. Here you can spot a wooden bridge that is below the Datmir village. These two spots are where you can refill your water bottles. The whole trail leading up to Har ki Dun is filled with little stalls where you can get Maggi, noodles, toasted bread and fried eggs.
Cross it and you would be able to reach one camping ground. There would be two trails, one going straight ahead and the other one moving upwards. Move straight ahead. The track might be muddy especially if you are traveling during the monsoon. A few small crop cottages and ranch houses could be spotted every now and then along the way. By late afternoon, you would be able to reach your first campsite at Pauni Garaat. You can set up your tent here and at the far end of the river; you can sit down with your cup of tea and enjoy the beautiful sunset amidst the mesmerizing surrounding.
Puani Garaat to Kalkattiyadhaar
On your way to Kalkattiyadhar, you would be passing through forests mostly which means that it would be cool and shadowy for most parts. The ascent you would notice would be more than the previous day. The steepness would keep on increasing as you keep proceeding through idyllic sceneries. You would then be crossing about 2 to 3 hydro electric wheat chaffing points that run with the help of the power that is drawn from the Supin. If you keep walking with the river to your right, you would find Seema village at the base of the Seema range. On this trail, you would also be bypassing a village named Oslo which is popular for its beautiful wooden architecture.
The path runs straight and after you keep on walking for some time, you would be able to see the majestic Dhauladhar ranges. The trail leading up to the Borasu high pass is spread across the mountain and you can actually see that. After walking for a few more minutes, you would be able to spot a flat table top land. This is where you would be camping for the night. Here, you would also find a snack point set in one corner. You can have your lunch and dinner here.
Kalkattiyadhar to Har Ki Dun
This trail isn’t quite as strenuous and stressful as the previous two days. The ascend might be steep sat some points but the trail is relatively small and you can, therefore, walk slowly while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. After walking for some time, the flat land would come to an end and would give way to a thick coniferous forest full of cedar, chestnut and pine trees. Keep walking for some time and you would be able to find a waterfall. A food shack is just a few minutes away from the waterfall wherein you can have a few snacks and enjoy in the cool shadow of the conifers. After walking for another 40 minutes, you would soon enter the vale of Har ki Dun.
This campsite here is quite mesmerizing with the green stretch spread out at the feet of Har ki Dun’s peak and the Supin rivulet flowing by. Also, when you finally make it to the valley, you would be able to see the Swargarohini Peak that has mythological tales related to it. From the spot where you would be camping, you would be able to spot a rocky path. This leads up to the bungalows of the forest department. There is also a popular Shiva temple on an enormous rock.
Explore the Har ki Dun Campsite
Staying back to explore the place is quite up to you. It is the mesmerizing beauty of the place that would leave you awestruck and would make you want to stay back forever. It is here that you would be able to see the grounds below the Swaragrohini-1 peak. If you visit just after the monsoon season, you would notice that the meadows are filled up completely with beautiful alpine flowers.
If you take a left turn from the campsite and trek further north towards Hata Peak and take a turn, you would reach a glacial lake named the Maninda Taal. Make sure you have a companion with you and keep track of the oath that you are going on. Keep exploring and nature would keep surprising you. You can proceed to as far as the glacial basin. Return back to the campsite after spending some time there.
Har ki Dun to Jundhar glacier (Optional)
From Har ki Dun, you can also make your way to Junadhar glacier. You can do this on the same day that you are exploring the Har ki Dun campsite or stay there for one more day and start for the glacier on the next day. From Har ki Dun, you would begin to hike through the rocky and rugged terrains. You would keep walking until you reach a place that is in complete contrast with Har ki Dun. Here you would find snow clad rock formations. The trek here would then gain some height and from here you would get some breathtaking views of the glacier. After you have witnessed the mesmerizing views of the glaciers, you can trek back to Har ki Dun.
Har ki Dun to Puani Garaat via Osla
It is best to begin early as this one is going to be one long trail. Today, you would need to head back to Kalkattiyadhar and from there to Osla. At Kalkattiyadhar, you might consider stopping a bit for lunch. Now, slowly make your way towards the village of Osla. This village would surprise you with its rustic charms. On the faces of the older people, you would see innumerable lines and creases just as the trails of the trek. The women in this village remain studded from head to toe with ancient bronze jewellery and rather colourful ethnic clothes.
Imagining living there might seem quite an exciting affair but isn’t as easy as it seems. But, here you would get an insight into the village culture. There is also a Lord Shiva temple which is one of the most interesting structures in this picturesque village. If you look carefully, you would be able to see pretty blue peacocks carved atop the temple. Once you have explored Osla, you can now start heading back down the narrow mountainous lanes to reach Puani Garaath.
Puani Garaath to Sankri via Taluka
You would need to trek for approximately 13 kilometers to reach Taluka and from there; you can head to Sankri by driving. The path back to Sankri is quite an easy one with level roads and consistent descents all the way from Taluka. You could divide the time between the rest points and the inns so as to relax and enjoy on your way back. ON your way here, you would be able to find several familiar faces. Upon reaching Taluka, you would have to hire a car or a jeep. You would be able to make it to Sankri by about tea time.
Sankri to Dehradun
On your way back from Sankri to Dehradun, the path would be lined up with pine trees. Also, the time taken to reach Dehradun would be lesser than what took you to reach Sankri. This is because it is a descent. You would get the bus for Dehradun at somewhere around 5 or 6 a.m. There are also many buses after that but early morning would make it the best time to travel. The cost of each ticket is somewhere around 250 to 300 rupees. Depending upon the road conditions and weather, it can take anywhere around 10-12 hours to reach Dehradun.
In case, you do not like traveling by bus, you could also book a car. Remember to carry enough food and keep yourself hydrated.
Wildlife in Har Ki Dun
Not many people know about this trail and hence it isn’t as populated as most of the other trekking areas. It is for this reason that many animals and birds still thrive in this region. Near Puani Garaat, you would be able to spot langoor families. Enormous Himalayan griffons and Golden eagles also live here. If you are lucky enough, you would also be able to see wild boars, Barasingha, and Black bears. The state bird of Uttarakhand, the colourful Himalayan monal can also be spotted in the forest.
Nearby Tourists Places from Har Ki Dun
Dehradun is one of the most gorgeous places in Uttarakhand; there are a number of places that you can visit.
You can view this glacier by trekking for 4 kilometers from Har ki Doon towards Swargarohini Peak. It is down the valley and to reach the main Jamdar glacier, you would be required to travel for 10 kilometers.
Situated at about 3 kilometers from Har ki Doon is the Morinda Tal. It is a beautiful lake and the views around it are also mesmerizing. While trekking back from there, you could also choose to visit the temple at the Osla village dedicated to Duryodhana of Mahabharata.
This is a high-altitude lake and is a prominent tourist place when trekking back from Har ki Dun.
Also known as the “thousand fold water spring”, this is one of the most visited tourist spots in Dehradun. But, why is it so popular? This is because; the waters of these springs are believed to have certain medicinal properties.
Located on the bank of Asan River, this is a Lord Shiva Temple. The Shivling here is believed to be one of the oldest.
Robber’s Cave or Guchhi Pani
This is a very popular picnic spot for the fun-loving enthusiasts. Located at about 8 kilometers from the Dehradun city center, this popular spot is near the Anarwala village. The cold stream flowing within the beautiful caves is a sight to behold.
This is a popular tourist destination in Mussoorie that features pools, cascading waterfalls, boating opportunities and much more. The place also has little vantage points and cafes where you can sit, relax, have food and enjoy the view.
This is the point from where you get the chance to experience the panoramic views of the beautiful snow-capped peaks. This is the place that would offer you all the calmness that you have been looking for and make you realize as to how much nature has to offer us.
Activities in Har Ki Dun Valley
The Har Ki Dun Trek is more for those people who love to explore and discover the wondrous creations of nature. As is quite common with most of the trekking sites, there isn’t much to do than to appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings. But, if you do decide to trek a bit further, let’s say about 4 to 5 kilometers away from Har Ki Doon, you can get to see some of the most popular tourist destinations that have been discussed above. You would also be able to get an insight into the life of the village folks.
This is the most obvious reasons as to why most of the people go for trekking in the Har ki Dun valley. With camping, you get the chance to set up your tents tight in the lap of nature, with mesmerizing surroundings and under the sky filled with bright stars. Such an environment would help you to rejuvenate and relax after a tiring day that you have spent walking.
When you go for the Har Ki Dun Trek, you would be able to experience some of the most beautiful creations of nature that would leave you wonderstruck. From cascading waterfalls to forests filled with oak and pine trees, from snow clad mountains to gushing rivulets and rivers, nature wouldn’t stop surprising you at each and every step that you take.
While trekking upwards, you would come across villages and communities of that region. You would get the chance to explore the beautiful villages situated amidst the beautiful surrounding, interact with the villagers, get an insight into their lives and learn about their customs and culture. The experience is truly enriching and you would take back with yourselves oodles of memories to cherish.
The total cost for the Har ki Dun Trek would be entirely dependent on the agency that you choose. It would also be dependent on the accommodation type that you choose to stay at or if you want porters or not and many such things. The best option would be to ask your travel agent about each and every related cost in detail so that there isn’t confusion later. This is because different agencies charge differently for things. Also, make sure to ask about the refund in case you need to cancel the trek.
For most of the agents, the fee can be paid online or through demand drafts or check deposit. At this stage, you need to take decisions take wisely. It is important if you want your trek to be exciting and fun.
Backpacking List for Trek
There are quite a few items that you need to pack when going on a trek. These items are absolutely necessary. However, remember that you are going to be there for just a few days and you wouldn’t need as many things as you might when going to some other place for a vacation. Listed below is a generic checklist that you can follow for any season.
- One Trekking back pack that has comfortable straps and a rain cover. (The backpack should be sturdy so that it becomes easier to carry the weight of all the things that you have packed)
- Water Bottle. Carry at least two water bottles, of one liter each. You can refill these bottles with the glacier water along the trail. (Also, make sure to carry at least one thermos flask which can be used to carry warm water or tea or coffee)
- A Walking stick and a head torch
- Snacks like dry fruits, energy bars, chocolates and electrols
- Your personal Medicine kit. Consult your doctor before coming on the trek.
- Clothes and Shoes
- At least 2-3 Comfortable full sleeves T-shirts
- Windproof and waterproof pant and jackets
- A thick woolen sweater or a fleece jacket
- Trekking pants and thermal inners
- Trekking shoes (Should be high ankle ones and must have a good grip) and flip flops (can be worn when you aren’t trekking and just exploring the village that you have stopped at)
- At least 5 pairs of cotton and woollen socks
- Personal Utilities
- A good sunscreen
- Hand sanitizer
- Wipes and Toilet paper
- Lip Balm, toothbrush, and Toothpaste
In his blog, Prashant Kothawade shares his experience, “Great thing about the trail was the availability of the fresh, glacier water at a frequent distance. This made us not to stack any water thus lightening our backpacks as generally water bottles are the heaviest in the backpack. So we really indulged in the fresh water which kept us well hydrated throughout the trek.”
Fitness Required for the Har Ki Dun Trek
Of course, walking is something that all of us do on a daily basis but, it is essential to train before going on the trek. The difficulty level doesn’t matter. You should be physically fit as you are going to be walking up and down different terrains. You need to understand that the altitude is going to be much more different than usual.
Three months prior to going on a trek, you need to start working out and exercising regularly. This would strengthen your heart, strengthen your bones, tone your muscles and assist the body in acclimatizing better to the colder areas.
Har ki Dun is the kind of place where you can go with a mind full of worries and cme back with a heart full of memories. The beautiful blend of the colors of nature, right from the white snow to the green forests to the blue rivers, makes this trek one of the most surreal experiences of your life. So, if you have done all your planning, head out and be amazed by the wondrous creations of nature.
Have you ever been on a trek before? How was your experience with it? Feel free to share them with us.